A plane is seen during sunrise at the international airport in Munich
Representative image Reuters

An American YouTuber who has been accused of deliberately crashing his plane may be thrown into jail for up to 20 years.

The YouTuber, identified as 29-year-old Trevor Jacob, has agreed to plead guilty to obstructing a federal investigation launched to ascertain the cause of the crash that occurred in 2021.

According to a statement from the US attorney's office, Jacob not only crashed his plane deliberately but also purposely dismantled the wreckage of his small single-engine plane in Los Padres National Forest in California.

He even filmed the events leading up to the crash, including the moment when he jumped out of the plane with a parachute before it came crashing down. The video titled "I crashed my airplane" managed to get almost 3 million views for him.

In the video, he can be seen having some trouble with the engine as he flies over southern California. He apparently tried to somehow land the plane "safely" but failed to do so, and decided to leave the plane and jump out with a parachute on him.

The cameras placed on the aircraft managed to film its dramatic descent into the forest as well. Jacob also managed to capture his troubles upon landing in the forest on camera.

He filmed every moment he was in the forest looking for a way out of it. He could be seen hiking up to the wreckage, giving updates about his well-being to his followers, until he comes across a vehicle and is rescued.

Despite the meticulous planning, the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) were able to ascertain that Jacob crashed his plane deliberately.

According to a report in The Guardian, the authorities had ordered Jacob to preserve the wreckage. But he did not comply with the orders and cut up the plane into pieces and threw its parts in trash bins.

The authorities revoked his pilot's licence after they learned about the incident. In a plea agreement, he admitted that he made the video as part of a sponsorship with a wallet company.

A statement from the Department of Justice read: "Jacob further admitted he lied to federal investigators when he submitted an aircraft accident incident report that falsely indicated that the aircraft experienced a full loss of power approximately 35 minutes after take-off."

"Jacob also lied to an FAA aviation safety inspector when he said the airplane's engine had quit and, because he could not identify any safe landing options, he had parachuted out of the plane."

He has now agreed to plead guilty to one count of destruction and concealment with the intent to obstruct a federal investigation. He faces up to 20 years in federal prison. Jacob is expected to formally enter his plea in Los Angeles in the coming weeks.

In a similar incident reported from Northern Ireland earlier this year, a YouTuber is undergoing trial for allegedly faking a six-hour livestream on the platform in an attempt to create an alibi for a murder.

Stephen McCullagh, 32, was initially ruled out as a suspect in the murder of a pregnant woman because of the live stream. However, it later came to light that the video played during the live stream was a pre-recorded video of him playing Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.

He had recorded the video four days before the killing in December 2022. He was eventually charged with the murder of Natalie McNally. During a hearing of the case at Lisburn magistrates court in February, the prosecutors said that the suspect had devised a "sophisticated, calculated, and cool-headed plot" and was "capable of deception beyond imagination."

McCullagh maintains that he had no role in McNally's murder but admits that the live stream was fake, according to a report by Insider.